A STORY ABOUT A REAL MAN 103 according to the scientist's own design. There was a shortage of utensils. In addition to the clinic's beautiful porcelain crockery, dented aluminium bowls were used. The blast from a bomb which had exploded in the vicinity had shattered the glass of the huge Italian windows, and these had to be boarded up with plywood. There was even a shortage of water; every now and again the gas shut off, and instruments had to be sterilised over antiquated spirit-stoves. But the stream of wounded continued. They were brought in increasing numbers—in aircraft, auto- mobiles and trains. And their number grew in proportion to the increase in the might of our offensive. In spite of all this the entire hospital staff—from its chief, the Merited Scientist and member of the Supreme Soviet, to the ward maids, cloakroom attendants and porters—all these tired, sometimes half-starving people, who never knew a full night's rest, continued fanatically to adhere to the established rules of their institute. The ward maids, who sometimes took two and three spells of duty in succession without a rest, took advantage of every spare moment to clean and wash and scrub. The nurses, thin, aged, staggering from weariness, continued, as before, to appear on duty in white, starched robes, and were as scrupulous as ever in carrying out the instructions of the doctors. The house surgeons, as usual, were severe in their strictures on finding even a spot on any of the patients' bed linen, and they rubbed the walls, balustrades and door handles with their pocket handkerchiefs to see whether they were perfectly clean. And twice a day, at fixed hours, the chief himself, a tall, florid-faced old man, a regular martinet, with greying hair standing up from a wide forehead, a black moustache and grey- streaked imperial beard, made the rounds of the wards, just as he did before the wai, accompanied by a suite of house surgeons and assistants in starched smocks, perused the case cards of the new patients and gave advice in severe cases. During those restless days he had an enormous amount of work to do outside of the hospital too, but he always found time to attend to the institute of his creation at the expense of rest and sleep. When scolding a member of the staff for some delinquency—and he did this boisterously.